From the author of Bel Canto and The Dutch House. In the spring of 2020, Lara's three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Not that a heart is not broken at some point, but it breaks without affecting the remarkable warmth of the book, set in summer’s fullest bloom ... This generous writer hits the mark again with her ninth novel ... Knowing Patchett’s personal history with motherhood makes the fullness of the maternal feelings she imagines for Lara Kenison particularly poignant.
A gorgeously told and quietly devastating story of family, love, and identity. The book is unpretentious in its erudition, yet filled with allusions and galvanized by a passion for literature and theater ... Chekhovian atmosphere and elements leave their imprint on every page of Patchett’s novel ... Throughout Tom Lake, art and life intersect, contradict, and implicate each other, both conceptually and textually.
With Tom Lake, she treats us — and perhaps herself — to a vision of a family beautifully, bucolically simple: nuclear, in its pre-bomb meaning ... Isn’t a prudish novel — the flashbacks are to the 1980s, when parents hovered a lot less — but it is a resolutely folksy, cozy one ... A quiet and reassuring book, not a rabble-rouser.